Macaroni and Cheese with Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage
My mom made a delicious Macaroni and Cheese with a custard base: very creamy and delicious and slightly crusty on the top. I made it several times when my children were younger but no one really looooved it. I tried many, many different recipes to see if anyone of them hit the spot for my family but not really.
I guess when my son was in high school, my husband said, “Why don’t you make a Macaroni and Cheese with just the cheese sauce that you always make.” Hmmm. Ok. I gave it a try. My son liked it, my husband was on board, it was good. But of course I needed to make it better. So I kept on experimenting, adding the Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage, increasing the cheese sauce and then finally adding a fine layer of lightly toasted butter and bread crumbs on top. This was quite delicious. Now my son asks for it when he comes home for college because well he dreams about it!
It’s really a simple recipe and the cheese sauce recipe can be halved and used as a sauce for vegetables like broccoli if you like.
2 cups milk (or 1/2 No Fat Milk and 1/2, 2% Milk, which is what I always have on hand)
4 tablespoons cubed butter
4 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound of Velveeta Cheese, cubed (you can substitute cheddar if you like or a combination of cheeses. The Velveeta produces a very creamy and smooth cheese sauce)
12 ounce package Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage (I like the brand Al fresco )
1/3 cup of fresh bread crumbs (see Breadcrumbs post)
1 tablespoon butter
8 ounces of medium shells or elbow macaroni
Spray a 2-1/2 quart glass baking dish with canola spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put a large pot of water on the burner on high. While waiting for the water to come to a boil, cook the apple sausage according to the package directions. While you are cooking the sausage, cut up the cheese into cubes and lay out the milk, butter, flour and salt.
When the sausage is cooked, put on a cutting board and cut length wise and then cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Do this for each link. Set aside.
Put milk into a saucepan. Put heat on medium and add butter, flour and salt. Stir with a whisk until completely combined and keep on stirring until it just comes to a simmer or slight boil. Simmer/boil for about one minute, stirring constantly. Take off burner and add cheese. Stir. Put lid on pan and set aside.
The water should now be boiling so add your macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package. When done, drain thoroughly and put back into pan. Add cheese sauce (all cheese should be melted into the white sauce by now. Stir to combine. ) and Apple Sausage. Place mixture into baking dish.
In a small fry pan, over medium heat, place butter. When melted, add breadcrumbs and stir with a fork until lightly toasted. Spread evenly over Macaroni and Cheese and Apple Sausage. Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes. Serve immediately. Leftovers rewarm nicely in the microwave, my son can attest to that!
Af fresco Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage:
cutting the sausage:
milk, butter, flour, salt simmering:
mixing cheese sauce, sausage and macaroni together:
breadcrumbs and butter nicely toasted:
ready to go in oven:
after 20 minutes in oven: